A developer in Hamilton Heights abandoned its controversial proposal for the rezoning of a block with historic row houses.
Soma 142 LLC withdrew its rezoning proposal for the site on the corner of West 142nd Street and Riverside Drive on Thursday. The proposal was in the final stage of the ULURP process and a City Council committee was set to review it on Friday, according to the Patch.
A 170-foot building was proposed for the corner, where a vacant lot and three empty row houses sit, which would’ve needed to be razed for the development. But the 17-story building faced resistance from the community, some of whom alleged the developers intimidated residents to force them from their homes.
City Councilmember Mark Levine took credit for the withdrawal, telling constituents Soma dropped the rezoning after he made his opposition clear. The community board and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also opposed the development.
“The demolition of three 100-year old row houses on 142nd St., as proposed in this project, would be a serious blow to the historic fabric of our neighborhood,” Levine said in an email to the community.
Soma said the project would add 61 market-rate units and 20 affordable apartments to the neighborhood, but that was reportedly not enough to appease the community. Less than a decade ago, West Harlem was rezoned to prevent upzoning in the community, not helping matters for the developer.
It’s not clear how Soma will move forward after its withdrawal. The developer has previously expressed intentions to get a project off the ground on the block regardless of the fate of its rezoning.
In the spring, Soma reportedly revealed a different plan in case the zoning was not approved. The alternative course of action would still involve demolishing the century-old row houses, but also putting up a six-story, 23-unit building instead of the proposed 170-foot building.
[Patch] — Holden Walter-Warner